The Birth of the Neoliberal Sovereign Consumer

  • Niklas Olsen
Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)


This chapter describes the prehistory of the idea of the neoliberal sovereign consumer from 1700 to the emergence of the figure in the interwar period. The chapter seeks to offer a broad introduction to some of the themes, arguments, and contexts that are central to understanding the making of the sovereign consumer and the renegotiations of the figure that are elaborated on in later chapters. Ultimately, the chapter stresses the key role played by Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises in inventing the sovereign consumer and the ideational framework within which neoliberalism has been negotiated ever since. This includes the idea of the market as the pre-eminent forum for democracy and of the sovereign consumer as the personification of democratic action.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niklas Olsen
    • 1
  1. 1.SAXO-InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations